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Hurricane Season in Brooklyn

Analog Players Society

Hurricane Season in Brooklyn

Studio Brooklyn

2012

Hurricane Season in Brooklyn marks the debut of the Analog Players Society (APS), an extension of the lifelong pursuit of the groove by the percussionist, engineer and producer known as Amon, who first discovered Turkish, West African and Middle Eastern music in college—and then dropped out to tour with a circus multi-instrumentalist.

"I eventually moved to Chicago and studied African percussion intensely for four years and traveled to Guinea, West Africa, to study," he recalls. "I eventually studied with Famadou Konate, Mamady Keita and M'Bemba Bangora." Amon's percussive awakening continued through work with DJ Nickodemus and dub legend Lee "Scratch" Perry, and is heard and felt in the vocals, handclaps, breaks and beats in Brooklyn, which Amon completely wrote (except for some lyrics and the cover tunes), arranged, recorded, mixed and produced.

Amon's inventiveness with instrumentation and rhythm is particularly striking in Brooklyn's first two tracks. The opening "Free" is an incredible composition and performance: While drummer Sean "Tricky" Dixon thumps a hip-hop sounding beat—not only a hip-hop rhythm but a hip-hop soundJonathan Powell
Jonathan Powell
Jonathan Powell
b.1982
trumpet
's trumpet icily skates like Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
' atop congas and other percussion popping Afro-Cuban jam; the eventual horn chart simultaneously overlays Afro-beat and jazz (think Basie big band) horns! "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn" projects the hip, edgy sound of Thievery Corporation and trims Cecilia Stalin's lead vocal in edges that suggest Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
1917 - 1996
vocalist
(in her daring, joyous sense of sound) as a space-age disco diva, and closes in thunder that echoes and fades. Both these tunes approach contemporary funk like Stomu Yamashta's Go approached 1970's blues-rock, and are genuinely, organically brilliant.

"Just a Day" wades in the water of a reggae meets jazz vibe led by Stalin's voice, again so sassily swinging that it splashes then melts in your ear like Chaka Khan. In between, and a bit surprisingly, APS surveys and then remodels three popular dance tunes from the 1980s: "Let the Music Play" (Shannon), where Amon translates the vocal melody to dancehall piano and keyboards to glockenspiel; "I Can't Wait" (Nu Shooz); and "Dance Hall Days" (Wang Chung), transformed into a stately reggae instrumental with the horns "singing the chorus" behind Will Jones's sax, slippery and funky like a really good Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris
1934 - 1994
saxophone
recording from the 1970s.

"I like capturing the feel of live music in the studio, but playing live with these guys is the best," Amon says. "We all can learn a set in the afternoon and play it that night. I know I can throw anything at them and when we get on the bandstand, it'll be amazing."

Bob a palindrome

Robert Hurst

BoB: a palindrome

Bebob Records

2013

The roll call of great bass players from Detroit includes Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
, Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers
1935 - 1969
bass, acoustic
and Doug Watkins
Doug Watkins
Doug Watkins
1934 - 1962
bass
. Robert Hurst, another Motor City musician, has for the past several years made a compelling case for his name on that list.

Hurst picked up the bass at age 14 and was soon performing with Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave
Marcus Belgrave
Marcus Belgrave
b.1936
trumpet
, who had previously been a member of Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
' band. Hurst subsequently met drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts
Jeff
Jeff "Tain" Watts
b.1960
drums
, who invited the bassist to join him in the rhythm section for the Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
b.1961
trumpet
band, where Hurst stayed for three years and seven recordings. Hurst later worked with Wynton's brother Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone
, including playing in The Tonight Show band under Branford's direction. While working on this Show, Hurst found time to write arrangements and play bass for Willie Nelson, Boyz II Men and Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
b.1942
vocalist
. He's also served as bassist in Chris Botti
Chris Botti
Chris Botti
b.1962
trumpet
's and Diana Krall
Diana Krall
Diana Krall
b.1964
piano
's touring and recording bands.

Even with all this sidework, BoB: a palindrome is Hurst's sixth CD as a leader, and fourth release on his own Bebob label. It reunites Hurst with trumpeter Belgrave and drummer Watts ("I have been partners in time with Brotha Jeff 'Tain' Watts for nearly 30 years," BoB notes), and adds pianist Robert Glasper
Robert Glasper
Robert Glasper
b.1978
piano
, percussionist Adam Rudolph
Adam Rudolph
Adam Rudolph
b.1955
percussion
and reed master Bennie Maupin
Bennie Maupin
Bennie Maupin
b.1940
clarinet
(another Detroit native). Hurst's notes also explain that he prepared each composition like Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
would—"with the specific tones and particular talents of the musicians in mind."

What you think of BoB may depend upon which parts you hear. Belgrave's flugelhorn sings "Big Queen" (composed by Hurst for his wife Jill) light and soft, while Hurst leads the rhythm section in a dynamic yet singular, unified voice. "Little Queen" (for Hurst's daughter Jillian) sings just as beautifully through Maupin's soprano sax.

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